Monday, 31 December 2012

Kit guitar build part 1

Enthused with the kit and being on holiday (one advantage of my job is we get oodles of holiday) I've made a start on the guitar.
I sanded both the body and the neck with 120 grit then further with 240 and finally with 320. Then to the finish. I don't have anywhere to spray and I like natural finish and feeling guitars. I found Wudtone finishes and I am going with an amber one. The neck I have decided to use Danish Oil on as I've seen others use this to good effect.

Below is the body after sanding, then with the first base coat applied and then the neck with the first coat of Oil on it.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Review of the year

This will be short as I don't have a working computer at the moment so typing on a phone is such a pain!

Overall a so so year, I've not enjoyed work but a review of my situation means I will have to grit my teeth and carry on with it for now. Musically I got the second album out but work time and pressure has meant  no time to gig and promote it sadly.

Album of the year tough one so many good releases this year. In the end I will go with Rush and Clockwork Angels.

Gig of the year again most gigs I went to were super but Andy McKee, Preston Reed and Jon Gomm win that one!

Happy New Year to you all. And my advice to all is get a job you love not one you have to endure simply to earn the dosh!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The new project

Mrs F bought me a Telecaster kit as my Christmas gift. It has an ash body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard. I have some stain from Wudtone that I will use on it.

I will post the progress once I get going on it

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas at home...

Into the last leg now - only today and tomorrow at work, my son is back from Mordor - sorry Mid-Wales ;-) - for the festivities, all the presents are wrapped - cluttering up the music room sadly but it is ok, I just can't really play electric as they are all around, over, behind, on top off the amp and my pedal board.  That is ok as recently, no doubt partly influenced by seeing Juan Martin the other week, I've been pulling out the oldest guitar in my collection - my faithful old Fender FC40 classical, which my Mum bought me when I was 14 or 15.  I'm back into my limited repertoire of Sor, Tarrega, Bach etc.  I'm trying to learn Fauré's Pavane at the moment.  Anyway enough about guitars... let's talk about life... Christmas life...

Our Christmas will follow the pattern of many years now, pretty much ever since we've had children so 22 years now.  It will just the four of us (Mrs F, Son-of-Furtheron, Daughter-of-Furtheron and yours truly) along with Mrs F's mother on Christmas Day.  We'll rise when my 17 year old daughter who wants to appear so grown up, mature and sophisticated most of the time reverts to her inner child and will want to get us up early.  The "kids" will have opened their "bags" - we used to have stockings that we put little bits in that were left by Father Christmas in their rooms, now they are "bags" with the little gifts my wife and I like to get them, cosmetics, toiletries, CD/DVD etc. that kind of thing.  Then we'll go downstairs and open the presents again left by that ingenious Father Christmas under the tree - the "kids" will have theirs in large sacks we've had since they were little.  No doubt there will be a note again from Father Christmas to thank my daughter for the mince pie and drink left for him (used to be a sherry but for the last 8 Christmas's he has asked for a soft drink ;-)) and the carrot for Rudolph - my daughter will analyse this normally claiming it is my wife's hand writing disguised - which is a terrible slander clearly.

Breakfast will be croissants and jam/honey.  We'll then get dressed and I'll head off to fetch Mrs F's Mum, she lives only a couple of miles away luckily.  Then it'll be get the dinner ready time, we'll probably have roasted the turkey the evening before and prepared a lot of the veg.  So it is carve the turkey and reheat that in gravy, cook the veg.  Sit down to the meal and fill ourselves up.  After the meal will be another round of presents for the kids from Mrs F's Mum.  Then we'll sit down and pick one of the new DVDs to watch no doubt, followed by a tea that no-one apart from my son will actually really have room left to eat, of sausage rolls, mince pies (made by my daughter before hand I suspect), cake, etc. etc.   Dr Who on the telly at some point around now will be another highlight and recent tradition.  Then again probably another film from the new selection acquired.  A few drinks for those that do, cider for my son, Smirnoff Ice for my daughter  sherry or Bailey's for the mother-in-law, Bailey's I expect for Mrs F, coke for me.  Then run Mrs F's Mum home, a Horlick's and to bed happy in the cocoon of family love that I will have experienced.

Boxing Day we'll have left over turkey in a casserole no doubt, some experimentation with various gifts of a more cerebral or practical nature, continue to catch up on listening to the various new CDs etc. and then off to visit my sister and her family for tea.  Tea will be a huge spread like only my Mum and sister seem to know how to collect and shoehorn onto a table that is much too small really.  We'll all help ourselves sat around laughing at each other and playing with my great-nephew and niece.  He is still the great young infant age who laps up Christmas and she will be experiencing her first and no doubt will be a bit bamboozled by all the noise, people and change of routine.  They'll be another small set of present swapping between us all.

Then a few relaxing days off I hope, my work closes between Christmas and New Year which is really lucky.  New Year's Eve will be mince pie a cup of coffee and Jools Holland on the TV.  We'll wish each other a Happy New Year and no doubt be in bed not long after 12! I mean it is only another day in reality.

New Years Day is another tradition.  It was for many years "Mum's Day".  After Dad died and I'd been the last to leave home Mum went to my sisters for Christmas Day and stayed over for Boxing Day - hence why we also have that tradition of visiting there that day.  But on New Year's Day all of the family, all 12 of us, would descend on her little bungalow for tea - her little gate leg table creaking under the weight of Tunis Cake, sausage rolls, sandwiches, jelly, etc. etc.  The kids would go mad normally most if not all 6 of them on her double bed in her bedroom watching her tv in there whilst the adults stayed in the living room - until the noise levels from the bedroom demanded an intervention.  As Mum got older though and the kids the size of adults and new partners added to the numbers the convention moved to us meeting for lunch in a local restaurant and then decamp back to our place which was the large enough to cope with everyone for tea and  more cake, sausage rolls etc. or the "growing lads"!  Although we've now lost Mum we still carry this on, for myself, sister and brother it is a poignant memory of Mum.  This year will however be the first one my brother and his family won't be at - he is visiting his in-laws, his now wife never knew my Mum and she has both her parents still, they should take advantage of that while they can so I completely understand that decision.  However we are back at the "old" restaurant, the one we used throughout the last years of Mum's life, who haven't been able to cater in the last couple of years where numbers have soared as high as 20. So whilst sad my brother etc. can't be there it is at least nice to go back to the place with more memories of Mum.  This year will be a bit of a "farewell" meal for us as my son is off to live, study and work in Svalbard a few days later for 6 months.

Although I can predict so much of the festivities as we do like to follow our traditions I'm still so looking forward to it. The family love, laughter and fun will be plentiful I know.  Also I will try to embrace it all as given my son is now 22 and my daughter 17 I suspect there are far far fewer that will follow this traditional pattern in the years ahead than we've already experienced but that will be ok as we move to newer phases of the family's development and expansion.

I trust all of you have a lovely Christmas and New Year celebration.  I hope you can share it with those that you love and that love you unconditionally back as only family can.

Finally a lovely quote (forgive the paraphrasing) from Steve Hogarth of Marillion from his Christmas message to fans on the fan club DVD this year... "If you can at Christmas spare some money for the poor.  Also remember those that are so poor all they have is money"...    Well put Mr H, it inspired this post as it reminded me that I am a very very long way from being that poor and I'm very lucky and very very grateful for that.

Please share some of  your Christmas traditions in the comments if you can.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Gun control

Right into the fray. Hello USA. Here is my advice to you. Ban guns like we did after Dunblain. Screw the constitution this is 2012 not 1789.

Guns are not a defensive weapon if I have a gun to defend me it only works if I shoot and the only purpose of a handgun is to kill people it is not a defence it cant stop bullets only spew out its own!

So simply ban guns and enforce it! Please

Friday, 14 December 2012

Horrible dream

I had a horrible dream last night, in fact I'd call it a nightmare and I don't really ever recall having one quiet so disturbing.  I'm sharing it here just to get it out of my head - I had to talk to my wife first thing this morning as well as I felt so disturbed by it.

I dreamt I murdered my son.  Honestly - the actual killing was brief in the dream I know we had a disagreement and I hit him with something and then hid his body.  The setting was oddly bizarre as well.  It was in a back street garage type place, you know the kind where there are as many rusting hulks as cars being actually worked on.  I hid his body under one of those cars.  My wife was in the dream and knew about the killing and we were behaving in a manner to make it look like we knew nothing including going to the garage and talking to others expressing concern over our missing son.... just awful.  I still feel bereft as a result of this.  Several times I was trying to cry over this but couldn't as I was the cause...

Right final weird twist... Newton Faulkner (or someone who looked remarkably like him anyway) worked at the garage as well, I think, he did owe my son money and that was somewhere wrapped up in the whole motive thing.   So odd... and scary

Please DON'T analyse this - I'd rather not know how much my head is screwed up

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Gig Review - Mumford & Sons London O2 11 Dec 2012

Last night the Furtheron clan, minus number 1 son who is still in Wales, trooped off to see Mumford & Sons at the O2 arena at North Greenwich.

They stated that this was the largest gig they'd ever performed in doors and that the were "bricking it" playing such a large venue.  However you'd never have believed it.  We saw them last at Hammersmith Apollo back in Oct 2010 at the end of their whirlwind breakthrough year.  Now at that gig they looked genuinely overwhelmed and amazed at just being on a stage like that with a crowd that size - well the O2 is of course up a league or so from there but from the off they looked confident, in charge and frankly that they belonged!  They owned the stage last night.  Of course a second massive selling album under their belts with consequently much more known material and coming off the back of a long touring schedule including well received gigs in the USA no doubt have given them a more honed edge to live performance.

They are still a bit of an oddity Mr Mumford and friends, folk and country influences abound but mixed with a heavy rock flavour - there was one point where all four were heads down rocking out at the front of the stage with synchronized heads-a-banging pose that would not have disgraced Status Quo or many other rock Gods!  The odd bit of that being a Martin acoustic and a tenor banjo as part of the instrument line up... you don't see that at a Megadeth gig now do you?  Talking of instrumentation one of their strengths is the multi-instrumentalist nature of them, banjos, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, mandolin, upright bass, electric bass, full drum kits, accordion  keyboards... I've no doubt still missed something from that list and add the backing horn and string section and they produce a hell of a noise!  And all of it very Mumford & Sons - again one thing setting these guys out is that they have through all this clashes of influences they have forged a very unique British sound, one the crowd loved.  They moved from the sing-a-long hits to quieter more reflective numbers with ease, the vocal harmonies were flawless to my ears and the crowd loved it all.

The latest material has more electric and rockier influences - I can see them moving through different phases as they incorporated other genres in their output and hope that they continue for a long time - they are a real success story and well worth seeing.  Sound quality was excellent and the light show whilst not hugely elaborate very effective.

Support was provided by firstly Post War Years a three piece electronica outfit - not bad, good soundscapes etc. at times.  Second up were Dawes from LA - a very USA folk-rock sound.  I like these a lot actually, good songs well structured and played, a good sound overall and superb vocal harmonies.  They came back on to perform with Mumford & Sons notably in the rousing show closer, the Beatles classic (although I prefer the unsurpassed Joe Cocker version myself) With a Little Help From My Friends.  Lastly Piff the Magic Dragon made a couple of appearances between the acts but his magic act didn't really work in a venue like the O2 - not helped by the hapless camera work - I presume there had been no rehearsal of that bit - too many close ups of the face of Piff and his audience volunteer meaning you missed the actual trick!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

... if we work for them.

I was reading another recovery blog and was reminded of the last bit of the AA promises...

"They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them."  

The actual promises are irrelevant really but the point is that you will get improvement in your life, if you continue to work the AA programme.  This isn't a rant about step this and that, to me everyone works the programme in a way suitable for them and I firmly believe as stated in the last step you have to embed the new learnings and way of life into all my affairs - i.e. I have to live a new life in a different way in every aspect of my life.  That is what I've spent the last 8 and a half years trying to do, at times with more success than others.

But reading Bye Bye Beer's blog earlier suddenly made me think of a couple of recent incidents, just ordinary life stuff, nothing big etc. but in which I found myself reacting in a particular way a calm way, a humble way ... but I only realise this by this reflection enabled through someone else sharing their experience.

This is how AA and its programme works for me.  The changes are slow and slight but massive and amazing in reflection and in light of day.  I'm no longer an out of control rambling drunk who was more a liability in most situations than an asset.  But it is all a journey, I can't let up I have to keep on trying, working and reflecting on these things to be sure that I don't lose what I've gained so far and that no set back is so disturbing that the only solution is a drink.

For normal drinkers and non addicts you'll read this and probably say "What is this nutter on about?".  However I think many who are on a road to recovery will see and inkling in what I've said here about progress rather than perfection.  :-)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Juan Martin - Live at The Brook Theatre Chatham

Last night Mrs F and I and four other friends went to see Juan Martin live at The Brook Theatre in Chatham.  Firstly again The Brook is a lovely little venue, the old Town Hall with a fantastic sound and feel.

Juan Martin was just stunning.  Now I really only know him from his Picasso Portraits album from years ago where as a tribute to Picasso he wrote pieces inspired by the masters great works and fused it with a modern rhythm section.  A really really good album and was for a while a regular on my old turntable. 

Juan knows flamenco inside out.  He talked of the history of different regions and influences, his influences in writing his pieces and what he tries to bring into them.  Many times I was just lost in the music and not sat in cold November Kent but in sunny warm Andalusia!

He used a new guitar for all tracks bar one built for him by Stephen Eden for Lewes.  Frankly just stunning sounding guitar.  Fantastic night all over.

(Thanks to P Shannon for the photo)